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The Taliban have also captured Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan. Afghan security forces had to leave Herat amid the ongoing Taliban attack on Thursday. The Taliban have captured more than half of Afghanistan within a week. The government has effectively lost most of North, South and West Afghanistan.
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“We had to leave the city to prevent further destruction,” a senior city security source told AFP. A Taliban spokesman tweeted that “soldiers laid down their arms and joined the Mujahideen.” Earlier, the Interior Ministry had confirmed Taliban occupation of Kandahar and the city of Ghazni along the Taliban’s main highway, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) from Kabul and to the south.
The Taliban have so far captured 11 of the 34 provincial capitals. The capture of Herat is the biggest success for the Taliban so far.
Afghan security forces and the government are not commenting on the ongoing conflict for several days. The government may be forced to retract its steps to save the capital and some other cities as thousands of people displaced by the fighting have fled to Kabul and are living in open spaces and parks.
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Earlier it was reported that Afghan government negotiators in Qatar offered the Taliban a power-sharing deal in exchange for ending fighting in the country. A government negotiating source told AFP on Thursday about this. “Yes, the government has submitted a proposal to Qatar as a mediator. This offer allows the Taliban to share power in exchange for stopping violence in the country,” the source said.